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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3210 ..

government will do more. This includes investing $236 million to plan, design and commence construction of the new SPIRE centre within the Canberra Hospital precinct.

The government will also be investing $70 million to expand the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. The Centenary hospital has been a tremendous success that has been of great benefit to the women and children in the Canberra community. This budget will see that great work continue by delivering a new ward with another 40 maternity beds.

Who could forget the nurse-led walk-in centre? After we announced a new nurse-led walk-in centre for Gungahlin in the election campaign last year hundreds of people spoke to me about how excited they were by this new announcement. I was delighted to join Minister Meegan Fitzharris in that announcement in Gungahlin a few months ago. This budget fulfils that commitment and I look forward to seeing those same constituents over the coming months and speaking to them about this vital investment. And it does not stop just with the walk-in centre. This government has also announced $3.3 million to begin planning for enhanced north side hospital facilities.

Again, this is a government that plans for future growth in our city. Making Canberra sustainable is vital for our future. Investing in clean energy is not just good for the environment, it will also provide jobs and make Canberra internationally competitive. Our policies in reducing emissions by 2020 with wind generation, roof-top solar and voluntary GreenPower purchases are truly on the cutting edge of industry. These projects will deliver more than $500 million in local benefits to the territory by 2020 by investing directly in jobs, trades training and research partnerships and supporting industry development initiatives such as the renewables innovation hub.

Canberra can, and will, create jobs for the future in the renewable energy and clean tech sectors. Investing in Canberra’s future is an essential role of government. That is why we cannot stop now. The ACT government must continue to invest in our growing population.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.46): I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing forward this motion today. It is a timely discussion to focus on what is needed in our city to not only ensure that current population growth is harnessed for the good of all Canberrans but also the need to plan ahead. As we know, more people will be calling this city home. The 2016 consensus confirms why the government should be focused on that future growth, and I am pleased to advise the Assembly that we have been.

As of December last year, Canberra’s population stood at 406,403 people, which means our city grew by almost 7,000 people over the course of 2016. That was a growth rate of 1.7 per cent, which was the second highest in the country. In the five years between the 2011 census and the 2016 census the territory’s population grew by over 35,000 people, the fastest growing state or territory.

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